The Republican-led Senate voted 64-33 on March 13 to prohibit partial-birth abortions. Congress passed similar bills twice before, but President Clinton vetoed them. Observers expect the House to approve the Senate bill. President Bush has promised to sign it.
President Bush praised the vote, saying, "Partial-birth abortion is an abhorrent procedure that offends human dignity."
The bill imposes fines and possible jail time for doctors who commit an "overt act" to kill a "partially delivered fetus." In the controversial procedure, doctors deliver most of the baby through the birth canal, crushing the head while it is still in the womb.
The Senate bill contains an exception to save the life of the mother. The Supreme Court struck down a similar Nebraska law in 2000 without that provision.
Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said the ban is "yet one more encouraging sign that the prolife movement is winning the long-term struggle for hearts and minds on the issue of life in the womb."
Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, vowed to "work aggressively to defend this [proposed] law in court—a law that is not only necessary, but eminently constitutional as well."
Opponents said they will fight the measure in court.
Recent CT articles on the partial-birth abortion ban include:
Weblog: Senate Bans Partial-Birth Abortion | After a 64-33 vote, the measure moves to the House. (March 13, 2003)
Weblog: Senate Likely to Pass Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Thursday (March 11, 2003)
The New Partial-Birth Abortion Bill and Old Myths | Unconstitutional? Rare? Dangerous? Don't believe the disinformation campaign. (Feb. 24, 2003)
New Congress, ...1